Sarah Silverman is speaking out amid the ongoing backlash of her roast of Britney Spears at the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards. Although more than a decade old, the scathing roast was resurfaced by Spears' fans following the debut of the new New York Times Presents documentary Framing Britney Spears, which shed light on the media's coverage and exploitation of Spears throughout her career. As fans re-examined old footage of Spears, Silverman’s speech became the topic of controversy, with many demanding an apology and explanation from the comedian.
Taking the stage at the MTV Video Music Awards in September 2007 just after Spears opened the show with a performance of her song "Gimme More," Silverman took aim at the singer, who at the time was dealing with a number of personal struggles. In the video, Silverman said the then 25-year-old had "already accomplished everything she's ever going to accomplish in her life." Silverman said, "it's mind-blowing," noting that Spears is "a mother" to sons Sean Preston, now 15, and Jayden, now 14. Silverman went on to add, "it's crazy. It's weird to think that just a few years ago on this very show she was this, like, sweet, innocent, little girl in slutty clothes riding around with a python." She also called Spears' children "the most adorable mistakes you will ever see!"
After the video resurfaced over the weekend, Silverman broke her silence on Twitter, explaining that she "known then 4 roasts." She said MTV asked her "to mini-roast Britney after her big performance," adding that while Spears was on stage singing, she was "having diarrhea & going over my jokes. Had no idea she didn't kill. Unfortunate." Silverman said, "art changes over yrs as we know more & the world changes," adding in a second tweet, "I wish I could delete it but I can't. But you are posting it for people to see. So r u trying to be kind or right?"
Although several audience members were seen laughing in the video at the time, this weekend wasn't the first time the roast had sparked controversy. Silverman issued a formal apology days after the 2007 VMAs after facing backlash over her comments regarding Spears' children. In a statement to Us Weekly, she said "the joke that everyone was upset about — me calling the kids 'adorable mistakes' — was the most innocuous joke," explaining that it "never occurred to me that would be deemed hurtful or over the line." She said she didn't "want to get into feuds with girls half my age. I'm in it to be funny and not for the drama. It's embarrassing."
Silverman is just the latest celebrity to face backlash in regards to their comments and treatment of Spears, with both Justin Timberlake and Diane Sawyer also facing scrutiny. The backlash is in response to Framing Britney Spears, which debuted on Hulu on Friday. The documentary featured numerous examples of the harsh treatment, sexism, and misogyny Spears faced throughout career, with fans now looking back and bringing forward even more examples of her mistreatment.